The Supreme Court, the UK's highest court, has today handed
down its judgment that the outcome of the Brexit referendum does
not give the government the unilateral right to
trigger the process for the UK to leave the European Union. The
Supreme Court also decided that the other nations that make up the
UK, including Scotland, are not entitled to a
separate vote on whether the UK leaves.
The UK Parliament must now vote in favour of Brexit in order for
it to happen.
This is a setback to the UK government, led by Prime Minister
Theresa May, who had asserted that the outcome of the referendum
vote had already given the government a right to proceed without
Parliamentary approval, although, in anticipation of the decision,
the Prime Minister had already confirmed that Parliament will have
a vote on her government's proposed new deal with Europe, once
that is finalised. The government have set a target of triggering
Brexit by 31 March 2017. The main opposition party in the UK
Parliament, the Labour Party, have already stated that they will
support the 'vote to leave' so the target date is still
likely to be met.
However, as the matter must be debated in Parliament before it
is voted on, this debate will again highlight the divisions across
the political, regional, age (and social) spectrum in respect of
Brexit, particularly since the Scottish government and the UK's
third largest party, the Liberal Democrats, have stated that they
will vote against leaving or table amendments to the proposed terms
on which the UK government can trigger Brexit.
From a commercial perspective, the Supreme Court's judgment
is a positive outcome because it has clarified much of the
uncertainty as to how the Brexit process will be managed. Other
countries, including the United States, are lining up to do free
trade deals with the UK, so confidence amongst the commercial
sector remains high.
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The government has been working to incorporate the changes required as a result of the OECD's work on BEPS Action 5: Harmful Tax Practices, which requires implementation of a Nexus approach to the Patent Box regime.
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